It’s official now. The county will soon take back control of the water system they deeded to the Bryan County Development Authority.
A serious debate over water among members of the Development Authority came to a close at Thursday’s meeting as the group voted to quit deed the system back to the county after having control for about five years.
At last month’s meeting, authority board member Owen Thayer presented a motion asking the board to comply with a letter sent to the authority by Bryan County attorney Charles Brown regarding the board’s ownership of the water and sewer system in the development park located just off Interstate 16.
The motion was tabled, and at Thursday’s meeting the members discussed the issue at length.
"Owen has a different intent which is not written in the motion," said Carol Miller, attorney for the Development Authority. "There is nothing wrong with adopting the motion but my opinion is that it isn’t necessary."
Miller said she agreed with Brown’s opinion that there was no violation of Georgia law in deeding the system back to the county, and said the motion Thayer presented would have no bearing on the legality of the system. She said it would be legal to deed the system back.
Thayer said he still felt a decision to deed the system back to the county would be a violation.
"Laws are technicalities and I see we’ll be breaking technacilities," he said.Miller disagreed, noting development authority law that dictates the transfer of assets.
"As part of the same section (Thayer is citing) the law reads that a development authority can dispose of any assets."
Authority Chairman Frank DuBose said it was always the intent that the water and sewer system would belong to the county.
"The water system permit is still in the county’s name," he said. "I thought it was always our intent not to get in the water and sewer business. We just used (the system) to get on track."
Phil Jones, the county’s administrator, said he thought the county’s decision to give the system to the development authority was an error.
"To say the development authority can’t return an asset given to them by the county isn’t a very strong argument," he said. "In retrospect, it was an error."
After the discussion, the vote to deed the system back to the county was 4-2 with Thayer and board member Linda Barker voting against the measure.